A recent panel of festival marketers at Mumbrella’s Entertainment Marketing Summit have agreed they don’t like using automated chatbots when it comes to customer service. The panel featuring Secret Sounds marketing director Matt Langler, St Kilda Festival’s Meagan Scott, Laneway Festival’s Chris Zajko, and RASV’s Paul Guerra discussed the importance of customer service and how chatbots fit into that.

Automated chatbots are becoming increasingly popular across online retail outlets, as a cheap option of communicating with customers. However festival marketers are weary of the fact that chatbots often lack a personalised empathy when responding to users.

Related: Chatbots set to invade the music industry

“I’m not a big fan of chatbots, I think the technology will get there and I’ve definitely seen some examples of it getting better.” Said Langler, continuing “But when you pick apart the way that they work, you still – in my mind anyway – need to sit there and write the responses that you would expect your brand to give the person who was asking the question.

“That automation around ‘this question’, ‘this response’, ‘this answer’ leaves me a little cold.”

Meagan Scott was quick to agree, adding “It’s just not right for us. We do find our audience love that personalised communication they have with our team. Even if we are under-resourced and even if it does take a couple of days to get back to them, having that personalised approach is so important.”

Both were quick to voice their belief that ensuring a personal connection between the audience and the company through a customer service team was incredibly important, no matter how repetitive and basic queries and issues may be.

“We get bombarded with questions to the point where it really makes me wonder why people can’t be bothered just clicking a couple of pages deeper on your website to actually get the answer. But that’s indicative of the age and era we’re in the moment.” Says Langler, confirming that he believes chatbots do have a place in some industries, “but on the most part, for me, I don’t think they work.”

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